Brussels Edition: Sanctions day

Brussels Edition
Bloomberg

Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg's daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union.

EU foreign ministers meeting today in Luxembourg may give the go-ahead for work on a German-French proposal to blacklist individuals in Russia over the attempted murder of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. A green light would clear the way for legal experts to vet the planned bloc-wide asset freezes and travel bans less than a week after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that a military-grade Novichok nerve agent was used. The ministers will also weigh expanding a blacklist of 40 Belarusian officials implicated in election fraud and a subsequent crackdown on protesters, with the big question being whether to add President Alexander Lukashenko himself. He was spared two weeks ago in the hopes that he might then be encouraged to engage with the opposition, but that hasn't quite worked. 

—  Jonathan Stearns and John Ainger

What's Happening

Brexit Latest | A trade deal is still hanging in the balance after a weekend of intense diplomacy saw Boris Johnson call the leaders of Germany and France. In an attempt to break the deadlock ahead of a critical week of negotiations, he told Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron the EU will have to back down from its hardline position on fisheries

Lithuania Vote | Lithuania's biggest opposition party took an early lead in the first round of general elections yesterday, putting it in pole position to form a government should it prevail in final voting in two weeks' time. The result highlights how a swathe of the Baltic country's 2.8 million people are unhappy at uneven gains from European integration.

New Homes | The EU wants to at least double the pace of renovation of homes and offices over the coming decade in a bid to save more energy and meet stricter climate goals. We had a look at the draft documents here to see what The Renovation Wave strategy will contain when it's unveiled Wednesday.

Data Doubts | Privacy activist Johnny Ryan warns the Commission that British privacy protections won't keep EU citizens' data safe enough, urging them to think twice before adopting a so-called adequacy decision that would guarantee the continued flow of data between the EU and the U.K. after Dec. 31.

Virus Update | U.K., Czech and Italian residents are going to face tighter restrictions in the coming days as European leaders step up efforts to stem a surge in coronavirus cases across the continent. EU leaders are going to discuss the flare-up in infections at this Thursday's summit. Here's the latest.

In Case You Missed It

Policy Shift | A rare shift in economic policy is under way that's edging central bankers out of the pivotal role they have played for decades. Find out what's changed here ahead of this week's International Monetary Fund meetings.

Climate Fight | Poland is digging in over the EU's shift to a stricter climate goal for the next decade, saying that the plans require more financial support for regions dependent on fossil fuels. And it isn't all about size: the coal-dependent nation also wants more data to assess the economic impact of the measures.

Green Stimulus | A push for a European Central Bank green lending program to help the fight against climate change has run into skepticism despite attracting the interest of President Christine Lagarde. Some doubters at the ECB say that climate activism is the work of governments, not central banks.

Web Watch | EU regulators are drawing up a list of up to 20 large internet companies that would be subjected to tougher rules to curtail their market dominance, according to the Financial Times. Seeking to go beyond monetary penalties with these new powers, the bloc would be able to force the companies to give access to competitors and share data with rivals, the report said.

Bad Banks | The Commission is considering setting up a network of bad banks amid growing worries over non-performing loans. The ECB has warned that another round of lockdowns could add more than $1 trillion in bad loans to the pile, raising the possibility of banking sector bailouts.

Chart of the Day

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development named Director General of the French Treasury Odile Renaud-Basso as president, its first female leader since it was founded in 1991. Renaud-Basso won support of the London-based development bank's shareholders in a vote on Thursday, it said in a statement. She'll replace Suma Chakrabarti, who stepped down in July.

Today's Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9 a.m. EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss Belarus, Eastern Mediterranean, Nagorno-Karabakh 
  • 11 a.m. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen participates at European Committee of the Regions debate
  • 12:45 p.m. Paolo Gentiloni, commissioner for economy and financial affairs,  gives a keynote statement on the future of the European fiscal rules at the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the EU, hosted by the German Bundestag
  • 4:45 p.m. EU Parliament ECON Committee hearings with Jose Manuel Campa, chairman of the European Banking Authority, and Steven Maijoor, chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority
  • 7.45 p.m. Vote on the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2020
  • Brexit negotiations continue in Brussels
  • EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis speaks to a European Parliament committee, and Sabine Weyand, director general for trade, takes part in a subsequent panel debate
  • OECD presents digital-tax proposals

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